rethink waste: its a dirty job…

metro, oregon, rethink waste


During a recent visit to Portland I had the privilege of eating lunch with Douglas Collins, my father, at the Waste Management transfer facility in Forest Grove. During our visit, though it is likely against company policy, Dad let me photograph the rubbish transferring process. The days of each city or town having a dump site are gone. Presently, the dump trucks that pick up your garbage in front of your house fill their trucks and bring them to the transfer station where the contents are emptied onto the floor of a wear house like structure and then pushed into a vast man-made crevasse leading to a semi. (In this process, dust from the dumping is kicked up and Dad worries that it might be bad for his lungs.) The semi can hold up to 55,000 lbs of garbage and dad says most days 8-10 semis are filled and taken to the dump. Doing some quick math, that means 550,000 lbs. of garbage a day is entering an unknown dump. This only accounts for a portion of Washington County. The estimate does not account for even half of the garbage produced in Portland daily. Does anyone else feel like this system might be flawed? For a long time, when they used to let employees salvage from the rubbish, Dad would bring home treasures, broken computers, snowboards, even department store merchandise. Target, Costco and other retailers must throw away goods with damaged packaging. Maybe they fell off a pallet or were disturbed in transit, but if the cardboard is dented at all, the goods are dumped. Space heaters, toasters, clothes, food, all packed into the semis and carted to the dump.


2 thoughts on “rethink waste: its a dirty job…

  1. Do they provide your dad with a suitable mask? The stores are at fault for throwing recyclable goods away. Consumers are at fault for wanting these things in the first place. Advertisers are at fault for getting consumers to believe they need these things. Rich people are at fault for wanting to get richer by pushing invented consumables onto society. Capitalist governments are at fault for being bought off by the rich and encouraging a consumer mentality. Voters are at fault for putting such governments in power. Everything is a circle. Most people are fickle. In India homeless children roam garbage dumps to survive. Is that right? Questions, questions…..


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